The PHENC Project final report: Interactive video analysis to develop learning and assessment of university students’ practical and communication skills


The objective and authentic assessment of practical skills in tertiary settings is a challenge. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the usefulness of a video analysis software program as a teaching and/or assessment tool for practical and professional skills in five different undergraduate programs. Barnett’s (1989) model of ‘reflective thought through action’ highlights the importance of reflective observation of an event in order to plan and implement positive behavioural changes. When the practice activities are directly linked with expected skill outcomes then learning is meaningful and reflective practitioners are developed. Further, most Generation Y students better engage in teaching and learning strategies that include recent information and communication technologies.

Participants in this project included academics (n = 6) and students (n = 306) enrolled in first semester units requiring the learning and assessment of practical skills from Physiotherapy, Health and Physical Education, Education, Nursing and Counselling degrees (hence the project acronym: PHENC). Lecturers for each unit implemented the video analysis software in a way best suited to their needs. In most cases, experimental and control groups were formed based on unit tutorial groups. The experimental group had the opportunity to use the software to support their learning of the practical skill of interest. For example, Health and Physical Education students were videoed while delivering a ten-minute teaching episode, or the Nursing students were videoed while testing blood sugar levels or applying dry dressings. The project outcomes were mixed. [From the Executive Summary]

Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training.

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